Local Horse Racing Association Reluctantly Signs Ontario Racing Deal

The Lakeshore Horse Racing Association is now a member of the Ontario Racing, but not on the terms it was hoping for.

This from association member Tom Bain who says local horse racing was only offered a two year deal with minimal purse funding while several other racetracks were given longer contracts with more money attached.

Bain says, with more than 2,000 jobs on the line, the association didn't have much choice but to sign the deal.

He says they're just looking for equality.

"We were pleased in one area where we were able to increase our purse money a bit, but certainly not being equal with the other tracks which really was our goal, to be treated similarly to the other tracks in Ontario."

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Tom Bain and Mark Williams of the Lakeshore Horse Racing Association (AM800 file photo)

Bain says other tracks were given an option for future contract extensions up to 19-years.   

"We were given a two year deal. Some received seven and options of going up to 19. Unfortunately, we didn't get that type of deal. We felt that we had to go ahead with the signing and we'll continue to fight for equality with the other tracks."

He says the fight isn't over just yet.

"We'll certainly take what we were given and we'll continue talks with the OR. I was in discussion with one of the members of the OR board and we're looking at setting up a meeting in the very near future. So we haven't given up the fight."

This comes on the heels of Leamington Raceway being left off the list in last month's provincial funding announcement of $10-million a year for rural horse racing.

Despite the challenges, Leamington Raceway's 2019 season will go on as planned and will include 13 race dates beginning Sunday, August 4.

According to Bain, betting topped $40,000 on several race days last year.